A closer scrutiny reveals Miss Chidinma is a troubled teen. She has been sexually abused serially by those least expected. Her life may never remain the same again.
The April sun was going to bed. Somewhere around Isheri, a Lagos suburb, a 15-year-old girl too was hurrying homeward. She wanted to arrive home before dusk. Suddenly, she struck her foot against a stone half buried in the earth.
The teenager hissed and made to continue with her journey. But one of her footwear did not obey her. A strap had snapped in one of the flip-flops that covered her dusty feet. Chidinma Olosota (not real names) hissed and moved on. After taking some steps, she decided to wait for a mobile cobbler to rectify the situation.
She looked around and sat at the front of a house. It was a decision that would affect her life. Not long after, a young man approached her, offering to help. The unsuspecting girl took the extended hand of help. A few hours later the young man raped her. Not only that, she was prevented from leaving the house.
Two days after, Chidinma struggled home to her already exasperated parents who were beside themselves with worries over the disappearance of their daughter. After showing her face at home, she was bundled straight to the church where the pastor lectured her on the gains of being an obedient child. It was the return of Chidinma’s father that exhumed any dirt the teenage girl thought had been buried.
The father insisted that he be taken to the house she spent two days. Reluctantly, the girl led her father to the house she spent the last two days. As soon as the father sighted the young who allegedly housed his daughter for two days, he was overcome by emotion and a shouting match ensued. Invectives and insults were hurled from both sides. Irked by the insolence demonstrated by the young man, Chainman’s father made for the Isheri Police Station to report the matter.
At the police station, the matter was assigned to an elderly police officer who is also said to be the Station Officer. The officer Mr Ajayi, according to a petition signed by 25 rights groups, blamed the girl for the rape “because she ran away from home.”
Also, she “was severely beaten by Inspector Ajayi with her father’s approval on the ground that she caused what happened to her”.
Meanwhile, that was just the beginning of other harrowing experience which the girl would go through in the hands of this particular law enforcement agent and his colleagues. “Inspector Ajayi then asked that Chidinma (not real name) remain at the police station for a couple of hours in order for her to ‘calm down’.
“Confident that Inspector Ajayi held a position of trust, Mr Olosota (not real name) complied with the instruction and left for work hoping that his daughter would soon be allowed to return home. Whilst at the police station, a number of police officers on duty sexually assaulted her, some fondled her breasts and others verbally abused her.
All of these took place in the presence of Inspector Ajayi and another female officer who goes by the name of Happiness,” alleged the petition which copies were sent to the the Inspector General of Police, Lagos State governor, Lagos State deputy governor, Office of the Public Defender (OPD), Divisional Police Officer, Isheri Police Station, Lagos, Lagos State Ministry of Women Affairs and Poverty Alleviation (WARA) and the Attorney General of Lagos State.
It continued: “Chindinma (not real names) was held at the Police Station all day till late in the evening without being offered any food. When she pleaded with Inspector Ajayi to release her to return home, he paraded her around the holding cells threatening detention with the male inmates. Ensuring that she was frightened enough, Inspector Ajayi took her back to his office.
In his office, he told her to write her statement and as she was writing, he was robbing her back telling her that he wants her to undress, when she refused, he threatened her. In her words: ‘Inspector Ajayi locked his office and told me that he wants to have sex with me and if I don’t agree, he will detain me till tomorrow and carry me and the boy to court so that I will go to prison’.
Apparently scared, she allowed him have his way. Right in the police station and right on the police desk, Inspector Ajayi raped Chidinma (not real name). At 9pm, Miss Chidinma (not real name) was released to go home” Chidinma confirmed the incident to Saturday Mirror adding that when he gave her a sachet of table water after and then allowed her to go home. She added that when she got home, she just went to bed without informing anybody of the incident.
The petition, however, alleged further that: “Inspector Ajayi did not take down Chidinma’s statement or the statement of the perpetrator and did not advise her to visit a general hospital for the necessary medical examination immediately after rape. He didn’t even open a case file for her. He only invited her and her father to the station the next day to go for a pregnancy test at Calvary Hospital, Omole Phase 2”.
But the teenage girl’s ordeal did not end there. On May 16 she was also raped. This time, the perpetrator is an acclaimed brother of a shop owner at Reality Plaza, Isheri. Her account: “A boy called IK now took us to the house. As we were going my friend excused herself saying she was to run an errand for her mum. Ike and I continued. When we got to the house, IK asked me to come inside but I refused. He now begged me to come and that he did not want to bring his sister’s phones outside. On getting inside, he asked to sit and offered me a newspaper.
He told me he was going inside to bring the phone. When he came back, he knelt beside me told me that there was no phone but that there was something he needed from. I asked him what. He then went inside again and brought a knife and asked me to pull off. He said he is a cultist and that he had done it before, that he would kill me and throw my body away in the night. When I refused he pressed the knife on my tummy and neck. When I saw blood, I started pulling off. I had on a gown and a pair of shorts. As I was doing that the N5, 000 which I kept in my knickers fell out and he picked it He asked me to lie down and I refused so he finally pushed me down and raped me.”
At the last incident, the girl could no longer hold it in. She returned to the shop with the aid of some good Samaritans and raised some dust. When her father got wind of the incident, he asked the daughter again to go to the police station, but she refused. On further probing, she finally owned up on why she did not want to return to the police station: she had lost confidence in the police.
That was when she opened up and told her father about her harassment by the officers and eventual rape by Ajayi. Saturday Mirror was at the said police station but everyone contacted declined to speak. Our correspondent was directed to the office of the Police Public Relations Officer. Frequent visits and calls to the officer, however, yielded no results. Twice her phone was picked by her orderly who promised to relay the message to her.
A message to the effect was also sent to her via her facebook account. Saturday Mirror was also at the office of the Officer in Charge (OC) Human Rights of the Lagos State Command Deputy Superintendent of Police (DSP) Amhedu, who is a lawyer.
Amhedu, who declined to speak with the press because he was not in a position to do so, said his office was aware of the matter. He also directed our reporter to the PPRO. However, a source in the Human Rights unit disclosed to Saturday Mirror that the matter was actually brought to the attention of the unit and that it was taken up and investigated.
The source added that the Commissioner of Police had been advised on the matter. Probed further, the source who disclosed that the unit has in its fold many lawyers of long bar experience added that during investigation, the victim, her father and the suspects including the police officer alleged were invited for interrogation.
“It was then that we discovered that the girl was wayward and that the father was trying to use her to extort money from Ajayi and the Nigerian Police. “It is true that Ajayi flogged her but he never raped her as claimed”, it added.
Asked how they came about their conclusion, the source continued: “In front of everybody we asked the policeman to strip and he did but he was not wearing the type of underwear the girl said he had on. We also sent a police officer to his office, it was not as the girl described. There was no television set and there was no couch.
The girl was just lying “We have reprimanded Ajayi. The police have no right to administer corporal punishment which he did by flogging the girl. We have recommended that he be sent on a six months course on human rights. We have also charged the first suspect to court. Though he claimed, he did not rape her; the girl was a minor then, hence could not give consent.
That is defilement. He has been charged to court and remanded in prison custody” The source also dismissed the claim against the third suspect, IK, saying he was culpable and that the girl’s father also wanted to exploit the young man and his sister.
The source, however, reprimanded the girl’s father accusing him of wanting to use his daughter to exploit the said police officer who was actually his friend before the incident.